RINDGE, N.H. - Hurler Joe Gratton tossed six shutout innings as the Castleton University baseball team defeated the Keene State College Owls - 3-1 - in Little East Conference action at Pappas Field on the campus of Franklin Pierce University on Tuesday afternoon.
Castleton improves to 8-9 overall and moves to 2-1 in the LEC, while Keene State falls to 6-11 and 2-4 in league play.
Starting for the first time this season - following seven relief appearances - Gratton commanded the mound with poise over six frames. The senior worked through a slightly rocky opening inning before setting down nine straight Owls and going more than four innings without surrendering a hit. Striking out the side in the second, Gratton picked up three of his seven strikeouts in quick fashion.
Getting on the board in the first, Castleton took a 1-0 lead and held on before adding two more in the sixth. Reaching on an error to lead off the game, Deagan Poland advanced to second on the error and third on Davis Mikell's grounder. Poland, striding off of third with two gone, scored when Dylan Bailey came through with a base knock to right center giving the Spartans a 1-0 advantage.
In the sixth, Bailey walked to begin the frame and eventually moved to the opposite corner of the diamond with help from Mitchell Caron's bunt single. Driving in Bailey and moving Caron to second, John Stewart III recorded an RBI groundout in the next plate appearance. Two spots in the order later, Matt Jackson plated the final Spartan run of the afternoon with a single to left.
Out of the pen, Andy Kenosh and Mikell combined for the final three innings. The former tossed one frame, allowing one walk and no runs. Meanwhile, Mikell earned his fourth save of the campaign by pitching the eighth and ninth. He struck out two batters while walking two and allowing one hit.
Castleton is scheduled to return to the diamond at 2 p.m. on Thursday as it is slated to host St. Michael's College in a nonconference doubleheader.
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